Quillpen, inky fingers
One writer ponders ...
on words-smithing or being happily distracted from the task in hand
and on the wayward nature of her Muse
and on the wayward nature of her Muse
My first guest on the blog is Hannah Vaughan, from TJInternational, with some great advice on self-publishing
How to do self-publishing and do it right.
The key to successfully self-publishing a book is to approach it like a business start-up. We help writers with all types of publishing projects and the people who really see a return on their hard work are the ones who have clear goals laid out from the start. This and a positive attitude get you far in this industry.
Every writer’s route to publication is different, but I’ve outlined five essential steps to give you the best foot-up possible. Here’s how to do self-publishing and, more importantly, do it right:
Nail down your aims with the same determination Stephen King pinned his rejections slips to the wall. Then, set out a clear route to get there. Ask yourself, what is it you love best about the process? What ambition makes your heartrate surge a little quicker?
Your dream might be producing a book for personal use, getting into bookshops or winning a major literary prize, but whatever it is remain realistic and determined. Paste an image of that award on your screensaver or mark your next target word count on the calendar. We’re writers after all, we’re stimulated by visuals.
Set overall targets for yourself and then break them down into more appealing chunks. For example, your main goal might be to write the first draft of your novel in a year – a pretty daunting feat. As soon as you divide this into word count targets to achieve each month, suddenly it’s a challenge you can get stuck into. This strategy works for most goals: sending out enquiries to agents, delivering marketing campaigns, planning social media. It all becomes manageable.
When your task is to research Victorian slang for the novel and not writing the novel itself, working on your book seems a lot more fun than cleaning the house and procrastinating.
Self-publishing a book is akin to launching your own start-up business and with most things in life, you get out of it what you put in. You don’t have to know everything about business, but you do have to apply a business mindset in order to achieve the goals you’ve set out. This means forming a strategy with each element of your book’s exposure.
The important thing is to do your research. If you’re planning on submitting to agents, start a spreadsheet of the ones who are appropriate for your novel, research their profiles, follow them on social media and make notes as you go. This is the difference between an amateur enquiry and a professional one.
When you market your book it’s important to always give people value. Whether it’s a personalised thank you letter for a book review, or a preview of your next book only available to your email subscribers, make sure they feel like you care. After all, you’ve found your niche audience so they’re already interested in your content, you just have to stand out from others in your genre.
Why is it you go to particular coffee shop or buy a particular brand? I bet it’s the personable customer service supported by a quality product, right? Just like a business start-up outstanding customer service should be incorporated into every aspect of your self-publishing project. This will make you stand out from the rest and help you stick in the reader’s memory.
People need to know you’re not just any other Romance fiction author. You’re the credible author whose writing offers the reader an escape ladder from mundane reality. Of course it’s important to use other people’s skills to drive your book forward, but it’s important you don’t get ripped off! Make sure you get to see proofs of your book at every stage, read the small print and trust your gut – how do you evaluate your relationship with them?
Stories have the power to challenge, comfort and inspire the world. Now is the time to take your writing seriously and self-publish your book. The tips above will give you the best foundation for getting started and once you get your story under the nose of the right person, great writing speaks for itself.
Hannah Vaughan is Marketing and Editorial Assistant at TJ INK in Padstow, providing advice and professional publishing services for independent authors. TJ INK love to help passionate writers craft, publish and thrive.